Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Children’s Day May 31

A child visit Seattle Japanese Garden, photo by Aurora Santiago

A child visit Seattle Japanese Garden, photo by Aurora Santiago

Experience family-fun surrounded by the beautiful scenery at Seattle Japanese Garden on Sunday, May 31, when the garden hosts its annual Children’s Day event.

From 11 a.m.-3 p.m. there will be live entertainment and a variety of hands-on activity stations to give visitors of all ages an opportunity to enjoy Japanese cultural traditions. The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. S. [Read more…]

Loyal Heights says “Aloha” to summer at bouncefest

Get a jumpstart on summer fun at Hawaiian Bouncefest!

From 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 13, Loyal Heights Community Center will host the Hawaiian Bouncefest. There will be bounce houses, carnival games, face painting and treats. Bright, festive is encouraged.

Carnival tickets can be purchased at the event for 50 cents each, or attendees can buy an unlimited fun wristband for $10.

For more details, call Loyal Heights Community Center (2101 NW 77th St.) at 206-684-4052.

Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day in Magnuson Park

2014 Bird day posterFINAL2

Migrate to Magnuson Park on Saturday, May 10, in honor of International Migratory Bird Day. Bring your family to learn about amazing birds that travel thousands of miles each year to Seattle.

There will be guided walks, habitat bingo and other family-friendly activities beginning at 10 a.m. at the Magnuson Community Center, 7110 62nd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115. Talks will be given by renowned bird experts Idie Ulsh and Dennis Paulson.

International Migratory Bird Day is sponsored by Seattle Parks and Recreation, Magnuson Community Center Nature Programs and the Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance.

Sign up for free bird walks and activities by clicking HERE.

Celebrate the opening of Bell Street Park

Join friends and neighbors to celebrate the opening of Bell Street Park on Saturday, April 12, 2-5 p.m. The celebration will be centrally located from 2nd to 3rd Avenue on Bell Street Park, however the new park addition spans Bell Street from 1st through 5th Avenues.

The celebration will be something the whole family and community can enjoy!  The special occasion will include a Lion Dance from Northwest Kung Fu and Fitness brought to you by AquaBar, a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a performance from a local band, The Royal We – playing songs from the past 30 years.  While you take in the performances, play lawn games provided by Target and partake in activities from Metropolitan Improvement District and snack on sweet or savory treats from food truck favorites.

At the opening celebration, be sure to look for the recent addition of public art.  Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Office of Arts and Cultural selected national recognized artist Sheila Klein. The art aims to be the catalyst for park activation.

Bell Street Park converts one traffic lane and reconfigures parking to create a park like corridor through the heart of Belltown. The four block area was improved with landscaping, better lighting and more open space. The continuous level pavement encourages pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles to share the space. Seattle Parks, SvR + Hewitt and the community worked together to create a plan for the new park while AGR Construction worked to make the project a reality.

Belltown is a unique Seattle neighborhood and one of high density and growth.  Geographically it links other neighborhoods: the waterfront, Pike Place Market, downtown, Seattle Center and the Denny Triangle. It is home to an eclectic mix of businesses, residents and architecture. It is a dedicated, caring, and inclusive community that not only supports, but also embraces more than 30 human services agencies and low-income housing. The project was first proposed in the 1998 Belltown Neighborhood Plan, and has been endorsed by a range of community organizations – including Belltown Housing and Land Use Committee and the Belltown Community Council.

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy provided $5 million to plan, design and construct Bell Street Park.  The artwork is commissioned with Parks and Green Spaces Levy 1% for Art funds.

For more information please click here.


Daddy Daughter Dinner tickets are available now

Tickets are still available for the 22nd annual Daddy Daughter Dinner from 6-10 p.m. this Saturday, March 1, at Ballard Community Center.

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites daddies and daughters to be dazzled during an evening of allusion and grandeur as they whirl and twirl under the Big Top. Activities include dancing, clowning around with crafts, opportunities to test one’s acrobatic skills and a fanciful feast.

This year’s event is sponsored by Ivar’s restaurant. Tickets for daddy plus one daughter are $60, daddy plus two are $70 and daddy plus three are $80.

Register in person, on the phone or online using barcorde #110975. Call 206-684-4093 for more information or click here.

Ballard Community Center is located at 6020 28th Ave. NW in Seattle.

Seattle Parks works in partnership with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) to bring high-quality, accessible and affordable recreation opportunities to the people of Seattle.


Seattle Parks and Recreation flips flapjacks for fundraiser

Join us for a pancake breakfast on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, at Bitter Lake Community Center from 9 a.m. to noon. Help Seattle Parks and Recreation fundraise for low-income neighbors and community events.

The whole family can enjoy all-you-can-eat flapjacks, along with scrambled eggs, sausage, juice and coffee for just $5 per person. Senior tickets are $4 and children three years old and younger eat for free. Proceeds from the event go to the center’s scholarship fund benefiting families in need by providing them with opportunities to participate in programs and activities throughout the year.

For more information or to volunteer, call the Bitter Lake Community Center at 206-684-7524 or visit the center’s website at

The Bitter Lake Community Center, at 13035 Linden Ave. N, offers a wide array of activities and special events for families.

Seattle Parks works in partnership with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) to bring high-quality, accessible and affordable recreation opportunities to the people of Seattle.



Seattle Parks and Recreation offers hot cakes for a cause

Wrangle up your family and work up your appetite, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2014 the Loyal Heights Community Center is offering breakfast with a side of goodwill.

The annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is the community center’s biggest fundraiser. Tickets are $5 per person and all proceeds go to the center’s scholarship fund benefiting families in need by providing them with opportunities to participate in programs and activities throughout the year.

Breakfast includes a stack of pancakes, eggs and sizzling sausage. Tickets are available now at the community center and can also be purchased at the time of the event. Children three years old and younger eat free.

For more information or to volunteer, call the Loyal Heights Community Center at 206-684-4052 or visit the center’s website at

The Loyal Heights Community Center, at 2101 NW 77th St., offers a wide array of activities and special events for families living in the Loyal Heights, Ballard and Crown Hill neighborhoods.

Parks works in partnership with the Associated Recreation Council (ARC) to bring high-quality, accessible and affordable recreation opportunities to the people of Seattle.


Local magazines rank Seattle’s “best of” parks

If you’re a parent, chances are you’re in a continual search to find interesting, active, stimulating stuff to do with your kids. No doubt, parks play a big role in that. And you probably have your go-to parks – the ones where you can always count on a good time. 

But wouldn’t it be nice to know what other parks parents are choosing? Thanks to some 2012 “Best Of” lists, we can help you discover new parks for your family that are sure to become old favorites.

The following list was compiled from Seattle Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, RedTricycle’s Most Awesome Awards and ParentMap Magazine’s Golden Teddy Awards.

(Note: Seattle Magazine simply lists its readers’ top park choices for kids, while RedTricycle and ParentMap specify a category. If you see a category listed next to the park, it was listed in either RedTricycle or ParentMap. Parks with no categories listed, were only featured in Seattle Magazine.)

Alki Beach Park: Whether you’re visiting in February or August, there’s always something interesting to see and do at Alki. This long beach is great for walking, taking in the views, building sandcastles or beach combing. Make a day of it by hopping the water taxi from downtown Seattle, grabbing lunch at the new Marination ma kai (of Marination mobile food truck fame) at Seacrest Park, and catching a free ride on the water taxi shuttle.

Kids on swings at Cal Anderson Park

Cal Anderson Park features swings for babies and for bigger kids.

Cal Anderson Park: Cal Anderson Park opened in 2005 in the densely populated neighborhood of Capitol Hill. It’s built on top of a former open-air reservoir, which has since been buried. The playground features swings – both the baby and the kid kind, slides and climbing structures. There’s plenty of open space for tossing a ball or just running around. It’s a great place for your kid to practice his balance bike skills – lots of pathways. In the summer, the wading pool opens. Take a bus, walk, ride your bike or prepare to pay for parking. The bathrooms are located in the shelterhouse between the park and Bobby Morris Playfield.

Carkeek Park (Best Nature Outing and Best Playground Park): Located on the shores of Puget Sound, Carkeek Park’s 220 acres are great for hiking, salmon viewing during spawning season in late fall and early winter, picnicking or playing at the playground, which features a unique salmon slide. Little known fact: there’s an historical apple orchard in the park that is maintained by volunteers. To get to the playground, you must drive all the way into the park. It overlooks the Sound, near the train tracks. The bathrooms are near the playground.

Cowen Park(and Cowen Park zipline at the playground): With the beautifully restored Ravenna Creek running the length of the park, alongside an easy walking trail, Cowen Park is one of those places where it can be easy to forget you’re right in the middle of the city. The playground with the zipline is located near the corner of NE Ravenna Boulevard and Brooklyn Avenue NE. There are bathrooms near the playground.

The zipline at Cowen Park playground

The zipline at Cowen Park Playground made the list as a top outing for kids and parents.
PHOTO CREDIT: Patrick Niemeyer

Discovery Park (Best Nature Outing and Prettiest Park and Playground): This former military base is truly one of the gems of the city. It has miles and miles hiking trails, beaches, open lawns for flying kites, vistas, a giant sand dune for digging, ponds for frog watching, an Environmental Learning Center with a playroom, and much more. To get to the playground, enter the park from W Government Way, park at the Environmental Learning Center (where the bathrooms are) and walk on the path directly to the south of the center, past the sports courts. This playground has a great zipline too. Finding parking is usually not a problem; although, it can get rather crowded on beautiful weekend days.

Ella Bailey Park: This park is one of our newer playgrounds. It opened in 2007, and has one of the best views of Seattle. It features gently rolling slopes, play equipment, picnic tables, barbeques and walking pathways. This park has no public restrooms, and parking is on street.

Golden Gardens Park playground: Pirate-themed play equipment is a kid magnet in this newly renovated playground. Located conveniently off the parking lot and in front of the bathhouse (where the bathrooms are), this new playground features lots of opportunities for little climbers. And if they get bored at the playground, the beach and creek are nearby. This park is always a hit with kids.

Green Lake Park: Arguably the most visited park in the city, Green Lake Park is popular with kids of every age. The playground is amply sized, and has both baby swings and big kid swings. It is located near the community center (where the bathrooms are). Parking is always tough. If you can do it, we recommend walking, biking or taking the bus.

Green Lake Park wading pool and swimming beaches(Best Water Play): In the summertime, it’s a great fun to take your kids out to the waters at Green Lake. For little kids, the wading pool is a great introduction to swimming. For big and little kids, the beaches are fantastic. The water is clear and warm (okay, well warmer than the Puget Sound or Lake Washington). There are two beaches – one near the community center on the east and one near the Bathhouse Theater on the west side of the lake. Both have bathrooms and parking lots. Parking is a bit of a bear in the summer. If you can swing it, walk, bike or ride the bus.

Two girls on merry-go-round

The International Children’s Park has a mini-sized merry-go-round.

International Children’s Park: What a treasure this little park is. It’s newly renovated – dedicated just last year, and located in the heart of the International District/Chinatown. It has brand new play equipment for climbing and sliding, a merry-go-round and dragon art/climbing structure. Parking can be a challenge in International District/Chinatown. Make a day of it, and stop in to one of the neighborhood’s many delicious dim sum places – are perfect for little appetites.

Jefferson Park’s Beacon Mountain: Another amazing new park in Seattle, the renovated Jefferson Park and Beacon Mountain are truly one-of-a-kind. With two zip lines, slides that go down hills and a play water feature, this park attracts lots of families. There are paths for scooters, balance bikes or regular, big-kid bikes. The park features interesting, geometric climbing structures. There are bathrooms nearby at the community center, and there is parking. Parking can be tight on a beautiful day, but there’s usually a spot to be had. If you don’t want to deal with parking, the park is well served by buses.

Lake Union Park sailing pond: This one is not free, but it’s good, cheap fun. Every Sunday, for a suggested donation of $5 an hour, you can be the captain of your own pond boat. The Center For Wooden Boats runs the program, and it’s one of our favorites. Now, you have the added bonus of visiting the newly opened MOHAI at Lake Union Park. Kids under 14 get in to the museum for free. MOHAI restrooms are free for park visitors. There is a small pay parking lot. But why not ride the South Lake Union Street Car over there? It stops right in front of the park.

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Belltown Community Center offers My First Movie — FREE

Belltown Community Center, Seattle Parks and Recreation’s newest community center, will offer My First Movie on Saturday, January 26, from 10 – 11:30 a.m. Belltown Community Center is located at 415 Bell Street, at the corner of 5th Avenue and Bell Street.

The free showing of “Winnie the Pooh” will take place in a movie-like setting and is the perfect opportunity to introduce young children to their first movie-going experience – without the expense or worrying who they might disrupt while asking questions during the show. The movie will be shown in a darkened room and projected onto a 70-inch screen. There will popcorn and other concessions available.

The 2011 version of this “Winnie the Pooh” movie is appropriate for children around 3 years old and older, according to Common Sense Media.

Come early and visit the center’s Tot Town Playroom, which is best for children ages 18 months to 4 years old. The playroom is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3 – 8 p.m.

The Imagination Playground will also be open, and is best for children ages 3 to 7. Regular hours for the Imagination Playground are Wednesdays 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Each playroom is $2 per child.

For more information, contact Belltown Community Center at 206-684-4093, visit their webpage or like them on Facebook.

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Join the holiday cheer at the Volunteer Park Conservatory

There’s plenty of holiday cheer happening in Volunteer Park and at the Volunteer Park Conservatory between now and the end of 2012, brought to you by Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Friends of the Conservatory and the Volunteer Park Trust.

Today from 6 – 8 p.m., there will be a special Holiday in Volunteer Park event where guests can enjoy carols and music performed by nine choral groups, complimentary holiday treats and drinks, and a stunning display of more than 300 holiday lights and luminaria.

The event takes place at Volunteer Park, 1247 15th Ave. E, on the concourse between the water tower and the Conservatory.

Guests should also visit the Conservatory where the main attraction is a 75-foot, elevated model railway that winds its way through mountains of poinsettias and holiday trees decorated in splendid Victorian décor. Docent “engineers” are scheduled throughout the month to assist children of all ages to run the train.

This special event is sponsored by MTH, one of the largest manufacturers of toy trains in the world, and features standard gauge replicas of Lionel’s tinplate trains from the 1920s and 30s. The trains on display at the Conservatory are the largest tinplate toy trains ever produced.

Enter to win an authentic Lionel vintage replica train set with a retail value of $500. The No. 269E O Gauge Freight Train was cataloged in 1935. Reintroduced for 2006, this classic tinplate train set features a locomotive and tender, an oil tank car with the popular Sunoco logo, a dump car with tilting bin, and a caboose. You can see the train on display and purchase tickets at the Gift Shop.

Tickets are one for $10 or six for $50. The drawing is Friday, December 21 at 3 p.m. at the Conservatory. Entrants need not be present to win. For more information about the train, please click here.

Harpist Bill McJohn entertains again this year with his harp. He will be at Seasonal House 3 in the Conservatory from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sundays through Christmas, December 16 and December 23.

The Conservatory display was produced entirely with donated time and materials. Hundreds of volunteer hours went into creating this fabulous display, complete with a miniature village and representation of the Alki Lighthouse. Please see our website for details:

The display will remain open through January. The Conservatory will be open to the public two special Mondays, December 24 and December 31. The Conservatory’s Holiday Display and lights will remain until January 1.

For more information, please call the Conservatory at 206-684-4745 Tuesday through Sunday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Please call to confirm holiday closures.

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